Comtoyou Racing has confirmed that it will field an additional two Audi RS3 LMS TCR cars for TCR Europe champion Franco Girolami and team-mate Viktor Davidovski in the final FIA World Touring Car Cup events in the Middle East.
Shortly after the Belgian team committed to running four cars in each of the 2023 TCR World Tour and TCR Europe series, it has revealed that it will also expand its entry into the last-ever rounds of WTCR later this month.
Argentine Girolami recently secured the 2022 TCR Europe title with four race victories, whilst his Macedonian team-mate was also a race winner this year.
As wildcard entries, neither driver will be eligible for points and will also have to carry 10 kg of extra weight, although they can take part in the podium ceremony if they finish high enough up the order.
Comtoyou Racing, which recently moved into a new headquarters in Gembloux in Belgium, will be supported by Sweden-based Lestrup Racing in its expansion for the WTCR events.
“This is a really good opportunity for Franco to show his potential which we really believe in,” said Comtoyou Team Manager François Verbist.
“We’ve worked with him for one year now and he really deserved the TCR Europe title as the best and most outstanding driver.
“He’s also a really hard worker and deserves to have his place on the WTCR grid. For us as a team it was a wish to continue the story with him in WTCR.
“For Viktor, it is an ambition for him to compete in a world-level series and we are very pleased we’ve been able to make this possible. We know what he is capable of.
“Expanding to six cars will of course mean more work so the partnership with Lestrup Racing is really important.
“But not only are some of their guys joining our team, as part of a common discussion with Audi Sport, we are giving other Audi customers the opportunity to gain experience in a world series and we are very happy to have the support of Lestrup, an Audi customer team in the Swedish Touring Car Championship.
“We have high expectations for both events and we are ready to push to the end. We are definitely positive, coming to Bahrain with zero compensation weight and fully motivated to make the gap to Mikel Azcona as close as possible in the standings.”
Girolami, 30, will compete against his brother Néstor, a Münnich Motorsport driver with Honda, in the races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia this month.
“This is an amazing opportunity after the incredible year we have had winning the TCR Europe title with Comtoyou and I want to thank everybody who has made this possible,” said Girolami.
“It will be a big challenge, but I feel ready to make the most of this chance. Obviously, it’s going to be step by step, because while the level in TCR Europe is very high right now, the WTCR has the top ten best drivers in the world in touring car racing so it’s going to be very interesting to understand WTCR and to try to improve and learn from team-mates.
“I don’t have any targets, the only thing I always try to do is my best and to prepare all the events in the best way possible with lots of simulator work and training.”
Davidovski added that it had always been his ambition to compete in World Touring Cars.
“For sure these races will be a very big challenge but I have been spending time working with Franco on the simulator and training every day, putting in a lot of effort to do my best,” said the 42-year-old.
“To compete in a world-level event like WTCR has always been an ambition. While I know WTCR is another step compared to TCR Europe, I have won a race in TCR Europe and nobody gives you victories for free in that series.
“I am grateful to Comtoyou for this opportunity, it’s lke a dream coming true.”